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10 Questions To Ask An Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney

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When you have been injured on the job in Illinois, it’s usually a good idea to get a lawyer to help you, especially if your injury is going to require continued medical treatment. There are hundreds of attorneys who say that they handle these cases, but the reality is that many of them are not the best choice for you. We created a list of questions to ask which will help you make sure they are the right fit for your case. Below are ten questions we recommend you ask your potential attorney before committing to hiring them:

1: How many cases in your legal practice is devoted to workers’ compensation cases?

Best case scenario, the attorney responds with 100%. This would be the ideal answer because you could be fairly certain they have expertise in the field. At the very least, the majority of their caseload should be workers’ compensation cases. I would not hire a lawyer whose practice involves non injury related cases.

2: Have you previously handled cases with similar circumstances and injuries to mine?

It’s important that your attorney is familiar with situations like yours. You don’t want them gaining experience at your expense. Not every injury is unique, but some are.

3: What will be our primary mode of communication?

This question can provide insight into what you can expect the attorney’s communication style to be. Proper communication largely plays into the successfulness of your relationship with your attorney and of your case. Additionally, we recommend you request that they promptly notify you of any development or progress in the case. This doesn’t mean that they are available 24/7, just that they return calls in a timely manner and provide updates.

4: Who will be responsible for managing my case?

Asking this will allow you to figure out if they are planning on handing your case off to another attorney or handling it personally. We recommend insisting that an experienced attorney handle your case. You don’t want to think you are hiring a lawyer with 20 years experience only to discover the case is really being handled by a recent law school graduate.

5: What do you know about the insurance company?

Any experienced workers’ compensation attorney should be able to tell you about the insurance company who is defending your case and what their experience has been with them on prior cases.

6: Will I be responsible for covering case-related expenses and how much will they be?

I don’t know of any reputable firm that asks the client to pay expenses related to the case up front. I also don’t know any law firm that will ask you to pay them back if they lose the case. But it’s a good thing to ask. Note that in most cases the expenses are minimal.

7: What is the optimal strategy for my case?

Before you lock down an attorney, they should be able to communicate to you their plan and potential outcomes. For example, if your benefits have been improperly denied, they should give you a timeline of when they will file what is called a 19(b) petition for immediate hearing and how long it will take to get your case before an Arbitrator.

8: Do you know the arbitrator that will hear my case?

This is a question that can’t be answered until the case is filed, but one that we recommend you ask them early on.

9: Is there anything important that I have overlooked?

As explained previously, good communication is vital. This inquiry will allow for the conversation to expand further then it has. It’s a great chance for your attorney to give you some advice. That is what they are there for.

10: What steps can I take to support my case?

Collaborative efforts between you and your attorney are essential. A seasoned attorney will likely tell you to gather your medical records or make sure to provide them with documentation such as off work slips. They also should give advice on what can happen in the case such as an IME, surveillance or other tactics by the insurance company.

This isn’t a complete list of course and every case is different. The point is that we highly recommend that you really interview an attorney before hiring them. If you have any questions or would like us to make an attorney recommendation, please contact us at 312-346-5320 any time. We cover all of Illinois.